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Skills for CV: The importance of extracurricular activities

You may have heard that extracurricular activities are an important part of your university education and curriculum. Since your first days at university, you might be surrounded with stories about how everyone who is successful after graduation has done atleast one extracurricular activity. From captain of the university’s football team and student body president and building homes for the less fortunate in Tanzania. But do extracurricular activities have to be so overwhelming?

There is so much pressure on students to perform well in their exams and attain high grades (all while attending lectures with a hangover). This, by all means, is not the wrong direction – we mean attaining high grades, not the part of going to lectures with a hangover. The problem arrises when students have no life outside of lecture halls and the library…. I mean student bars.

When your focus is on books at university, you miss out on important extracurricular activities that can be important when looking for a job. So we have written this guide to help you understand the benefits and how to take part in extracurricular activities.

Table of Contents

What are extracurricular activities?

Let’s check out the definitions here: for this, we break the word “extracurricular” down to its roots for a literal explanation. The word “extra” means “outside” and “curricular” refers to all of the work that you do in your lectures and seminars. So extracurricular activities are basically activities you do outside of class.

Your university years are the best opportunities you will ever get to explore new activities, try different things and see what you’re passionate about. For this reason, extracurricular activities are just as important as your studies, they complement each other and make sure that you are a well-rounded student ready for life after graduation. Your education should go beyond the four walls of your lecture halls and help you develop more social skills than you know what to do with. University is about more than just books and dusty old lecturers, it’s also about getting to know and developing yourself and your skills.  

Extracurricular activities at university can include a wide range of activities, including:

  • Sports – which include playing on a university team or even a team outside your university.
  • Community Service – includes any sort of volunteer work, either in your community, on a national scale or abroad!
  • Employment – includes any jobs, placements or internships you take part in during your studies.
  • Arts – includes visual arts, performing arts, comedy, culinary arts – really this list is almost endless.
  • Hobbies – such as blogging, a film club, hiking, Rubik’s Cube Competition or chess club (if you put this on your CV, make sure its relevant to the job you are applying for!).
  • Academic activities – such as a math or science club, competitions, research or writing.

Benefits of doing an extracurricular activity

Learn new and useful skills

University students that take on extracurricular activities have the benefit of learning new and useful skills. Skills gained from extracurricular activities can include teamwork, better social skills and critical thinking, which are all important for and good extra curricular activities to mention in your resume.

Students who participate in extracurricular activities throughout their university curriculum are more likely to have better leadership skills and learn how best to relate with their peers. This is why recruiters and employers look for graduates who have experienced participating in extracurriculars over those who have not.

More opportunities

For university students, engaging in extracurricular activities boost your chances in getting into a graduate job, graduate scheme or job after university. Most employers are interested in your achievements outside of academics and look for examples on what you can offer. This is why an extracurricular activity can come in handy for your resume, especially to break the ice and start a conversation.

You might find that you can break the ice with employers and recruiters when looking for jobs on, you can do this by talking about hobbies and shared interests. An example could be that all your figure skating years pay off because you and your boss hit the ice to discuss T&Cs of your working conditions.

As a university student, the aim of your education should be development in all aspects of your studies and adding to your extracurriculars. Having an extracurricular activity on your CV is similar to having a degree, it’s something you have for life and can develop as you progress throughout your career.

The exposure an extracurricular activity gives you could provide an insight to the type of job, sector or organisation you might want to work for. In some cases an extracurricular activity could lead to a full time job!

Which other things are important to mention in your cv?

Besides mentioning extra curricular activities in your cv, it can be beneficial to mention your experience in working as a team too. A lot of companies work on projects in teams, which means that having experience in working as a team is often considered as highly important. For more information, read the guide on the benefits of mentioning teamwork skills on your cv.

How do I participate in a curricular activity?

Extracurricular activities include a very wide range of activities, varying from sports, hobbies, academic and so on. Anyone can participate in a certain extracurricular activity through multiple institutions such as your university, job, sports team and more. Want to know more about various forms of extracurricular activities? Then read more about what extracurricular activities are here.

How do I write a perfect cv in general?

Besides the tips we have provided you with in this specific article, there are a few general rules and guidelines which will help you write the perfect cv. Things such as what to mention where, the lay-out, format and so on, are all of high importance when it comes to writing the perfect cv. If you want more information on this topic, read the guide on 5 tips to writing the perfect cv here.


Below you will find a short overview of the frequently asked questions about extracurricular activities and their importance.

What are extracurricular activies?

Extracurricular activities are activities you do outside of class, they are the best opportunity to explore new activities, try new things and find out what you’re passionate about. You can do extracurricular activities in sports, community service, employment, arts, hobbies and academic activities. Read more about what extracurricular activities are…

What are the benefits of doing an extracurricular activity?

University students that take on extracurricular activities throughout their university curriculum are more likely to have better leadership skills and learn how best to relate with their peers. It gives you the benefit of learning new and useful skills that you can also add to your CV. Read more about the benefits of doing an extracurricular activity…

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